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Working Toward Sustainability : Ethical Decision-Making in a Technological World,9780470539729
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Working Toward Sustainability : Ethical Decision-Making in a Technological World

by ; ; ; ;
Edition:
1st
ISBN13:

9780470539729

ISBN10:
0470539720
Format:
Hardcover
Pub. Date:
11/1/2011
Publisher(s):
Wiley
List Price: $74.66

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Summary

Because sustainability ultimately rests on ethics, this groundbreaking book is a crucial link in extending sustainability from a mere intellectual exercise to a broader spectrum. Ethics of Sustainability develops a comprehensive ethical foundation for sustainability by bringing together nine ethical principles together in a cohesive manner to provide the badly needed ethical arguments that support this important concept. Each chapter is supported by case studies, exercises and other pedagogy, enabling technical professionals in various fields to understand the ethical foundations that apply to their needs.

Author Biography

Charles J. Kibert is Director of the Powell Center for Construction and Environment and a Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr., School of Building Construction at the University of Florida, where he teaches courses on sustainability and sustainable construction and conducts research on design, energy, water, and materials challenges in the built environment. He is a cofounder and CEO of the Cross Creek Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit industry-university joint venture seeking to implement sustainability principles into construction. he is the author of Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery (Wiley).

Martha C. Monroe is Professor and extension specialist in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. Her work in environmental education and communication uses effective programs and materials to engage people in working toward the resolution of environmental issues. She coauthored Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques and Evaluating Your Environmental Education Programs.

Anna L. Peterson is professor in the Department of Religion and affiliated professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment and the center of Latin American Studies at the University of Florida. She teaches and publishes widely on social and environmental ethics as well as religion in Latin America. Her books include Being Human: Ethics, Environment, and Our Place in the World and Everyday Ethics and Social Change: The Education of Desire.

Richard R. Plate is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. He has taught courses on environmental ethics and politics, critical thinking for environmental scientist, and socioeconomic on how individuals learn about make decisions regarding complex environmental systems.

Leslie Paul Thiele teaches political theory and serves as Director Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida. He employs a cross-disciplinary approach to explore the aptitudes, values, and skills demanded of democratic citizens and leaders in a world of rapid technological, social, and ecological change. His books include Environmentalism for a New Millennium: The Challenge of Coevolution and Indra's Net and the Midas Touch: Living Sustainably in Connected World.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

MAKING CONNECTIONS xviii

SHIFTING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY xix

THE STRUCTURE OF THIS BOOK xx

Chapter 1

A Context for Sustainability 1

THE RATIONALE FOR SUSTAINABILITY 1

Sustainability Interlude 1

A Response to a Crisis 2

CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES 5

Population and Consumption 6

Climate Change 6

Nonrenewable Resource Depletion 8

Loss of Biodiversity 9

Overfishing 10

Eutrophication 12

Desertification and Acidification 13

Poverty 14

Ecosystem Services and Quality of Life 14

THE ETHICAL CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABILITY 15

THE THREE-LEG MODEL OF SUSTAINABILITY 15

CONCLUSION 17

Chapter 2

The Technology Challenge 21

OVERVIEW OF TECHNOLOGY 21

Defining Technology 22

A Brief History of Technology 22

THE TECHNOLOGY PARADOX 25

Technological Optimism versus Technological Pessimism 25

Developing a More Nuanced View of the Impacts of Technology 27

CONSEQUENCES OF TECHNOLOGY 28

Predicting Consequences of Technology 29

Reducing the Uncertainty of Technology 31

Technology Risk Assessment, Acceptance, and Management 32

ALTERNATIVE, APPROPRIATE, AND SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY 34

THE ETHICAL IMPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY 36

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 37

Chapter 3

Introduction to Ethical Concepts 41

RELIGIOUS ETHICS 42

Common Ideals 42

Views of Human Nature 45

SECULAR AND PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICAL TRADITIONS 46

Justice 47

Deontological Ethics 47

Rights 48

Consequentialist Ethics 51

Objectivism and Ethical Relativism 52

Objectivism and Relativism in Sustainability 55

ETHICS AS A TOOL FOR MAKING DECISIONS 55

Framing Ethical Problems 56

Conflicting Values 56

THE THREE LEGS OF SUSTAINABILITY 58

Social Ethics 59

Environmental Ethics 60

Economic Ethics 61

Integrating the Three Legs 63

CONCLUSION 64

Chapter 4

Social Dimensions of Sustainability Ethics 67

JUSTICE, FAIRNESS, AND RECIPROCITY 67

The Golden Rule 68

Ethics of Care 71

DISTRIBUTIONAL PRINCIPLES 72

Distribution in a Just Society 73

Distributing Disadvantages 74

EXPLORING INTERDEPENDENCE 75

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally 76

Life on Spaceship Earth 78

Environmental Justice 80

OBLIGATIONS TO FUTURE GENERATIONS 81

Intergenerational Justice 82

A Look Back at Looking Forward 84

Future Quality of Life 85

Beyond Seven Generations 87

CONCLUSION 90

Chapter 5

Environmental Dimensions of Sustainability Ethics 95

THE EMERGENCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS 95

The Birth of Modern Environmental Ethics 96

Environmentalism Becomes Mainstream 98

Undertones of the Sacred 99

RELIGION AND ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS 99

Religion and Nature 99

Greening Religion 101

ECOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS 103

Development of Ecology 103

CARICATURES OF NATURE 104

A Closer World 105

CONTEMPORARY APPROACHES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS 107

Getting the Scale of Ethics Right 108

Deep Ecology, Ecofeminism, and Social Ecology 109

Pluralistic Approaches 111

Bioregionalism 112

The New Agrarian Movement 113

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND NONHUMAN ANIMALS 114

Making a Case for the Individual 114

Mixed Communities 115

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS AND THE ETHICS OF SUSTAINABILITY 116

Identifying Values 117

Emphasizing Human Priorities 117

CONCLUSION 118

Chapter 6

Economic Dimensions of Sustainability Ethics 123

FROM CLASSICAL ECONOMICS TO ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS 124

The Advent of Modern Economics 124

Ecological Economics and the Classical Economists 125

Neoclassical Economics 128

Criticisms of Neoclassical Economics 130

Physical Limitations 131

Influences of Ecology 132

THE ECOLOGICAL ECONOMIC MODEL 134

Natural Capital and Ecological Services 135

Discounting the Future 136

The Economic Value of Natural Systems 137

Feedback between Ecological and Economic Systems 139

TOOLS OF ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS 144

The Polluter Pays Principle 144

Extended Producer Responsibility 145

Beneficiary Pays Principle 146

Full Cost Accounting, Full Cost Pricing, and Life-Cycle Costing 148

CONCLUSION 150

Chapter 7

Integrating the Three Legs of Sustainability 155

THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE 156

A Legal Context 157

Precaution in Practice 159

Precaution as Risk Management 160

Cost-Benefit Analysis 161

Including Stakeholders 162

Including Science 164

Compensation for Risks 165

The March of Progress 167

IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES 168

Lifeboat Ethics 168

Tragedy of the Commons 169

Hardin’s Challenge 170

POVERTY REDUCTION VERSUS ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION 170

Linking Social and Environmental Goals 171

Finding Synergistic Solutions 172

The Role of Technology 174

MANAGING THE GLOBAL COMMONS 175

The Need for a Central Authority 176

Moving beyond the Tragedy of the Commons 177

International Multilateral Agreements 179

Non-Governmental Organizations 180

The Role of Government 181

TRANSCENDING THE THREE-LEGGED STOOL MODEL 182

Integrating the Three Legs 182

Complex Adaptive Systems 183

Integrating Behavior at Different Scales 184

Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems 187

Resilience and the Precautionary Principle 188

Resilience and Technology 189

Conflicting Values 191

THE DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IN DECISION MAKING 192

The Principle of Transparency 193

Transparency in Industry 194

Transparency and Technology 196

The Value of Autonomy 197

CONCLUSION 199

Chapter 8

Improving Our Thinking about Sustainability 209

OBSTACLES TO MAKING GOOD DECISIONS 210

Rational Decision Making 210

Limits of Rationality 212

Cognitive Heuristics 214

Discounting the Future 217

Complexity 219

How Barriers to Rationality Affect Decisions 220

STRATEGIES FOR ADDRESSING LIMITS TO RATIONALITY 224

Becoming Environmentally Informed 224

Becoming Socially and Economically Informed 226

Systems Thinking 227

CONCLUSION 235

Chapter 9

The Process of Changing Behavior 239

THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR 239

Attitudes 240

Subjective Norms 240

Perceived Control 241

Understanding Planned Behavior 242

OBSTACLES TO SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIOR 243

Political Obstacles to Sustainable Behavior 244

Lack of Social Capital 244

Accepting Unsustainable Outcomes 245

Individualization 246

Distancing 248

HOW CHANGE HAPPENS 251

The Five Phases of Individual Change 251

Diffusion of Innovation 253

Applying Diffusion of Innovation 254

STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTING CHANGE 257

Small Wins 257

Reasonable Person Model 258

Moving People toward Change 261

CONCLUSION 262

Chapter 10

Creating Change with Groups 267

ADVANTAGES OF GROUP DECISION MAKING 267

Additional Insights 268

New Discoveries 270

Increased Buy-In 271

TYPES OF COLLABORATIVE PROCESSES 272

MAKING THE MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PROCESS WORK 273

Social Learning 273

Building Shared Understanding 275

Trust 281

Iterative Approach 284

LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS 287

Developing the Ideal of a Learning Organization 288

Creating Change in a Learning Organization 289

CONCLUSION 290

Chapter 11

Applying an Ethic of Sustainability 295

MAKING ETHICAL DECISIONS FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: AN OVERVIEW 295

Social Sustainability 296

Ecological Sustainability 296

Economic Sustainability 297

Integrating the Dimensions of Sustainability 298

CONTEMPORARY SUSTAINABILITY-BASED FRAMEWORKS 298

The Natural Step 299

The Hannover Principles 300

Corporate Social Responsibility 300

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER 303

Sustainability Frameworks and Ethics 303

Picturing the Three-Legged Stool Model 304

A FINAL CRITIQUE 313

Index 319



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